I’m definitely feeling the post-race blues today, sitting in torrential rain in Melbourne, thinking of the sandier pastures of the Sunshine Coast. A great weekend away, with a lot of unforgettable experiences to tell you all about, but I’ll rewind a bit first.
So in February I was scrolling through Facebook, when I saw an ad to become a member of the Make A Wish Australia team for the 2018 Noosa Triathlon. At the time I was pretty fresh to the whole Triathlon thing, and didn’t know much about the Noosa race or its history. Later that afternoon I was in touch with Make A Wish, and had managed to claim one of the final spots on the team, what’re the chances! Before I knew it I was creating my fundraising page.
To earn my stripes on the team, $1500 was the minimum requirement to be raised. Considering I’d never fundraised in my life, I may have been a bit foolish in claiming I’d raise $3000. It’s really always all or nothing with me, so I guess this was no different.
The page was up and running that night, and I went out for dinner, and didn’t check the page until the following afternoon. I was gobsmacked to realise I’d raised the $1500 in just under 24 hours! How did that happen?! So just like that, a stab in the dark at a Facebook ad, and just a day later I’d earned my ticket to the biggest Olympic Distance Triathlon in the world.
Fundraising continued to snowball and within a matter of weeks I’d reached my $3000 target! Pretty unbelievable. The best part was how great a feeling I got from doing this. I’ll have to admit I’d had a pretty good track record of being fairly selfish throughout my life, so to see how when I switched my focus to try helping others I got this massive thrill out of it Also with the target reached, it was time to set a new goal of $4000.
Fast forward a few months, and there we were last week, with the race just days away, and it’s all happening. Some last-minute cramming, booking flights, trying to find accommodation in Noosa (I realised my previous accommodation was actually a bit of a hike from the race!) and working out how I was going to get to the race start early on Sunday morning. Luckily despite a few tense moments I managed to work it all out, and arrived on Saturday morning without any dramas.
I headed straight into Noosa to soak up the atmosphere, not too sure what to expect, but was bracing myself for a bit of a shock. The town was overrun by visors, aero helmets and elastic shoelaces…I was in the right place.
Everyone had told me the atmosphere would be electric, and they weren’t far off. Just getting to watch the legends’ tri and 5K bolt on Saturday afternoon got me feeling ready to race. Home for a nice early night and before I knew it I was throwing on the race suit in the dark and chewing down some food on Sunday morning.
As with all things, there was such a long wait and build up to this race. My first Olympic Distance Triathlon, (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run), my first experience at the Noosa Triathlon, and getting the opportunity to push my limits for such a great cause like Make A Wish.
What I love most about racing is despite all the anxiety – of getting to Noosa, making sure I don’t sleep through my alarm, or make my wave start – once I’m on the start line, all that disappears, and I’m left excited to tackle the challenge ahead.
The horn blows, and we’re off, straight into the choppy warm water of Noosa beach. I’m definitely not the stereotypical triathlete. I love swimming with no wetsuit, and the more chop the better. That’s not because I’m some stellar surf swimmer, but just that I like being at that point where my limits of what I think I can do are shattered by what I do when there’s no other option.
I could’ve done that swim over and over, apart from a few struggles to see the bouy’s on the way back I was really happy with it, but was making sure not to burn too many matches early on and conk out in the back end of the race.
As soon as I far from gracefully exited the water I understood the Noosa hype. The crowd was just so loud, encouraging and passionate it really is something special. I made my way onto the bike feeling pretty happy with how things were progressing. Bad news was I realised about 10 minutes in I’d left my race food sitting in T1 (Transition 1.)
Those who know me well know I eat. A lot. All the time. So to be faced with over 2 hours of racing with no food, I was more than unimpressed with myself on that one. A great out and back bike course, kept me entertained, but unfortunately my bike didn’t roll out as I’d hoped. “Garmin Hill’ wasn’t too bad, long but not as steep as I’d assumed, but like all good things, what goes up must come down! Nothing like the flying downhill at 70km/hour to wake me out of my lull.
Pushed it hard home and realised in hindsight how being too conservative had kept me from where I wanted to be on the bike by 5 minutes at least. Oh well, with a 10km run to do, I didn’t have much to dwell on. Into T2 (Transition 2) to throw Cash on and get running.
My plan had always been to try and run strong, and have a negative split, running the last 5K faster than the first 5K. I may have got a bit carried away, feeling fresher than expected I went out pretty quick. Quicker than I’d ever run in a race before. After a solid few K’s in the heat, I was starting to fade a bit, but I have to say the amount of support and cheering on the course, really helped to motivate me to keep that pace I’d set from the start.
The heat started to take its toll with only a few km’s to go it became more mental than physical at this point. “Don’t think about how much it hurts, think about why you’re doing it!” That’s all that rung through my head.
Make A Wish does amazing work for children with terminal illnesses, granting them their childhood wishes, big and small. No child should have to spend large chunks of their life in hospital, but they do. The work Make A Wish is able to do to brighten some childrens, days, weeks, months and years is pretty amazing.
So I thought about what I was a part of. To be a part of the Make A Wish 2018 Noosa team, which raised $113,452 this year is amazing! I’m not blowing my trumpet here. I just want to take a minute to congratulate all my fellow charity team mates on the amazing work they did. It just resonated to me how much an individual can do, especially for others.
So while this was all going on, I’d found myself at the blue carpet, and just like that I’d done it. A culmination of months was there at the end of Noosa Parade. As the rush of accomplishment and endorphins rushed over me, every second of discomfort had been worth it. It only took me about 90 minutes before I was already planning 2019.
Looking at the weekend and results I couldn’t be happier. $4000 raised for Make A Wish, my first experience of Noosa Triathlon complete, my first Olympic Distance knocked on the head, a PB on the run, 3rd place in the Para Classification and an amazing weekend away filled with such a great welcoming Triathlon community.
This year was my first Noosa, but certainly not my last.